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Empire of Lies: The Truth about China in the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – April 8, 2008
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French journalist, politician and philosopher (and why can't we get that combo in America), exposes the lies of both the Chinese Communist Party and its Western apologists, which range from hardcore economic conservative American capitalists to French communists.
There's a few basic lies that underscore the scores of surface lies both the Chinese Party and its western enablers tell.
Sorman says Lie No. 1 is that capitalism will lead to democracy. He has a clear, albeit much smaller, counterexample - Singapore, led by, ironically or not, Chinese.
Lie No. 2 is that there is a "Chinese mindset," "Chinese way of business," or whatever, that is antithetical to democracy. Variants of that include references (usually wrong ones, according to Sorman) to Confucianism, etc. Counterexample? Taiwan. Daoism, repressed in China, flourishes there along with Confucianism, Buddhism and Protestant and Catholic Christianity -- along with traditional Chinese culture.
Lie No. 3 is the lie of Chinese economic statistics. Sorman says that even if you don't discount the costs of environmental degradation, Chinese growth rates are almost surely somewhat overstated, and possibly highly overstated.
Lie No. 4 might be a partial variant of No. 2, and would be the "China isn't all that bad" lie, especially if you compare it to the former Soviet Union. Sorman argues the other way around, that China is arguably more repressive than the Soviets of Khrushchev and beyond, at least in some ways.Read more ›
The book was probably written more for the European (and especially French) intelligentsia with their love of socialism and a social and political order led by the properly academically qualified (somehow they seem to have forgotten that the intelligentsia were the ones murdered, tortured-frequently to death, exiled, and assaulted by their beloved Mao's Cultural Revolution). But their support of the Communists also allows them to satisfy their anti-American feelings.
So the book is a good summary of the political and economic problems facing China under the current system, although his points could be better documented. The translation unfortunately is not very good.
French writer Guy Sorman takes a different view in "The Empire of Lies". He interviews several people, including dissidents, in an attempt to uncover the truth about China today. Sorman believes that the Chinese economy is not growing as quickly as advertised, and that there is much discontent, especially in the countryside. The institutions in the country, he believes, encourage short-term thinking--this retards economic growth. In contrast to many in the West, he thinks that China will not be able to conquer Taiwan in the near future. Sorman also takes a look at religion and the persecution of religion by the Communist Party.
Sorman asserts that the West has had a tendency to misread China for centuries, and that it still does so today. Unlike many in the U.S. and Europe, he says that there is no reason to fear China at this time.
China continues to be ruled by a party that varies between ruthless treatment of its subjects and mild toleration of it native detractors (dissidents). Sorman does an excellent job of interviewing the dissidents, describing in detail how they ran afoul of the government in the past as well as how they cope in their day-to-day lives while being under constant surveillance. To the one reviewer who states that Sorman leaves "very little space for the defense of the government", I can only say there is very little defense for a government that has created the largest police state in the world. It has the world's largest body of bureaucrats dedicated to policing the Internet and stifling any form of speech that may potentially challenge the Party. Even so, the recent political rumblings throughout Arab world (I'm writing this in May 2011), have reverberated all the way to China. It is therefore no surprise that China has launched a massive crackdown against lawyers, writers and activists, arresting and detaining dozens since February when on-line calls for protests similar to those in the Middle East and North Africa began to circulate despite the best efforts by Chinese authorities to squelch them.
Sorman notes throughout this book how the Chinese Communist Party leaders seek to develop a American style managerial class amongst its members.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It allows the reader to watch the Chinese problem from a different angle, so to say the rational politics lead by Mr. Kissinger. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Daniel Macia
The author makes his home in France. From ’77 onward he’s visited China numerous times. Here, are Sorman’s invaluable observations based on his tremendous dedication of time and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Scott Walker
It is essential reading to penetrate through the Chinese propoganda surrounding their supposed successes. It is essential reading on the subject on the Communist empire.Published on August 30, 2012 by James M. Hammond
The old adage goes "you can't fool all the people all the time", but the Chinese Communist Party is surely trying it's best, at least in the West. Read morePublished on June 16, 2012 by Niklas
Although issued in 2008, this book is woefully out of date already. It begins by reporting that China's ecoomy is about the size of Italy's. Read morePublished on March 16, 2011 by JES
Guy Sorman's article The Empire of Lies reminds the reader that the current economic and political change in China is not the miracle people suggest. Read morePublished on May 5, 2010 by Mr. Dylan M. Shaw
One fifth of the world population in rebellion? China in chaos? What would this do to the world. Ask yourself, be responsible to the world and yourself. This book is bias. Mr. Read morePublished on October 9, 2009 by Choo Mang Leong